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Cryptocurrency Price Check: Bitcoin Continues to Fall

Cryptocurrency prices are off as the broader markets fall over concerns about the Covid omicron variant.
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Cryptocurrency prices were falling Monday, continuing a slide that began last week, while major indexes were rattled by a surge in Covid omicron variant infections. 

Bitcoin was down 3.5% to $45,599 at last check, while ether was off 4.6% to $3,759 and dogecoin dropped 6.1% to $0.161534.

Bitcoin's price drop continues last week's downward trend for the world's largest cryptocurrency by market share.

Bitcoin reached a milestone last week with 90% of the finite cryptocurrency being mined, according to Blockchain.com

Cornell University trade policy professor Eswar Prasad said in an interview with CNBC last week that "bitcoin itself may not last that much longer."

"Given that bitcoin is not serving well as a medium of exchange, I don’t think it’s going to have any fundamental value other than whatever investors' faith leads it to have," he said.

Meanwhile, Christmas is only days away, and Winston Ma, managing partner of CloudTree Ventures, said interest in NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, is on the rise.

"Demand for NFTs of art, music and in-game assets, like digital plots of land in the metaverse, has soared recently, as millennials and Gen Z crypto players are planning to spend big on NFTs as holiday gifts for families and friends," he said.

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Ma added that NFTs as gifts is trendy because the price points on most NFTs are high enough that they feel like high-end gifts, and for people without NFTs, "these gifts feel more memorable as they are, by definition, unique (non-fungible)."

"2021 has seen a surge in the NFT market, and the year-end holiday season is bringing this blockchain and crypto asset play further into the mainstream," Ma said.

On the international front, David Lesperance, managing partner of immigration and tax adviser Lesperance & Associates, said both Russia and India are "pondering banning not only crypto transactions but even criminalizing the possession of cryptocurrency."

"As with Chinese crypto enthusiasts before them, there is significant move from hot to cold wallets," he said. "Naturally there is a related uptick in those willing to store cold wallets abroad and lend against crypto to provide liquidity.”

Lesperance said that PricewaterhouseCoopers has issued its latest global survey of Crypto Tax Policy "which is aimed at giving crypto currency enthusiasts some guidance on the tax rules in their current tax home."

"It also gives some guidance as to possible future jurisdictional shopping for those who are considering a 'Fire Escape Plan' from their current tax obligations," he said.

"Combined with proper immigration and general pre-immigration tax planning, it is quite possible to organize a fixed or even zero tax burden, while not compromising their business or personal lifestyle and living standards."

Cryptopedia says a hot wallet is connected to the internet and could be vulnerable to online attacks — which could lead to stolen funds — but it's faster and makes it easier to trade or spend crypto. A cold wallet is typically not connected to the internet, so while it may be more secure, it's less convenient.